Six female students of the Okuapeman Senior High School at Akropong in the Akwapim North District of the Eastern Region have been confirmed as haven the A (H1N1) virus also known as the Pandemic Flu.

Samples from these students were taken to the Noguchi Research Centre where it was confirmed, after the pandemic broke on Sunday, March 21.

Thirty (30) other students with suspected cases are currently being quarantined to prevent further spread of the virus. The Eastern Regional Health and Education Directorates are however calling on the public especially parents to maintain calm since the situation is under control.

The Headmaster of Okuapeman Senior High School, Felix Essah-Hienno confirmed the matter when a delegation comprising the Akwapim North and Eastern Regional Health and Education Directorates, led by the Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo visited the school to ascertain the facts.

Felix Essah-Hienno disclosed that some female students started showing some symptoms on the eve of Sunday, March 21, and the affected students were rushed to the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital at Mampong-Akwapim. He said the health team took samples to the Noguchi Research Center where they were confirmed to be A (H1N1) or the Pandemic Flu.

He said although most of the affected students are in stable conditions, hospital authorities have advised that the students remained quarantined for a minimum of one week before being discharged. The Eastern Regional Director of Health, Dr. Erasmus Agombo who was part of the delegation and spoke to JOY NEWS confirmed that all six samples taken to the Noguchi Research Centre were confirmed to be H1N1.

He said authorities have put in place measures to manage the situation, where those with severe cases are on admission at the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital while the rest are in isolation at the school. He added that the students have been educated on the pandemic. Dr. Agombo said health workers in the district have been duly informed of the situation and are ready to deal with cases.

He said authorities were yet to identify the source of the spread since the students were writing examinations before a full scale investigation begins. It is however believed that some of the students infected earlier had brought the infection with them on their return from the mid-term break.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo who led the delegation told JOY NEWS that the regional health and education directorates have responded swiftly to the matter. He said the committee set to monitor and address the A (H1N1) or Pandemic Flu, and the school authorities did well in ensuring the confirmation of the cases as of Tuesday March 23.

Hospital authorities added that another batch of samples have been sent to the Noguchi Research Centre for further analysis. Authorities further pointed out a suspected case which emanated from the Mampong township. They say however that the rest of the suspected cases are yet to be confirmed.

The general public is therefore advised to be vigilant since the symptoms are similar to ordinary cold. Other symptoms include sore throat, dry cough, runny nose and severe headaches among others. The public is advised to seek immediate medical attention in such instances.

In case of confirmed infection, victims are advised to cover their mouths and nose while sneezing or coughing to prevent further spread of the virus. Un-infected persons are also advised to wash their hands with soap, and avoid close contact with infected persons.

Story by Benjamin Henaku/Akropong Akwapim
Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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